October 11, 2013

Who doesn’t want to travel in style, right?  I don’t know about you, but if I’m able to get away, anything involving the words “luxury” and “vacation” together are a-speakin’-my language.  Scoring a luxury vacation deal at a good price takes some skill.  That’s why I’m excited a pro is sharing her tricks of the trade with us today.

Tamala Prickett from Chic Family Travels is telling you what you need to know before you pack your bags and head out of town.   She is a savvy traveller, passionate about getting a great deal for the entire family.  Take it away, Tamala!

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3 Tips To Scoring a Luxury Vacation Deal

 Admittedly, I have always had a champagne taste when it comes to traveling and even when I was on a Pabst Blue Ribbon budget.  Yes, I did say Pabst Blue Ribbon because I could not even afford a Corona at that time! Even so, I could never convince myself that the 3 star hotel would be just as much fun of an experience as the 5 star. Thus, I became an expert at finding deals on 5 star hotels!

Buckle your seat belts, and get ready for my coveted top 3 tips on how to score a luxury vacation deal on a beer budget (cheap beer at that)

1- Use Luxury Auction Travel Sites Too Find 5 Star Hotel Deals

Travel Auction websites have really taken over the deals that we use to be able to get on expedia, travelocity and those guys. If you have not noticed lately, the prices on Expedia and similar websites are almost identical to the ones that you will find on the hotels’ direct websites.  Travel auction websites are the new way to actually get a deal on a 5 star vacation. In theory, the auction websites list a “starting price” with hopes of multiple bidders raising the winning price.

I have booked several vacations on travel auction websites, and not once did I have a competing bidder. Do you get my drift ? The price that is listed on the travel auction website is most likely going to be the one you pay. Everytime that I have checked these prices with the hotel’s direct pricing, it was FAR cheaper. For example our family booked a 5 night vacation to the five star Scrub Island Resort in the BVI’s for $1500 which included 2 dinners and breakfast every morning of our stay. A comparable room on Scrub Island’s website for the same time frame was almost $4,000 with no additional amenities. Now that is a deal my friends!

My favorite travel auction website is Luxury Link, but there are several out there such as Jet Setter.

2- Book Your Vacation Dates & Hotels Wisely

I know that is yesterday’s news that you can get a deal on a Caribbean vacation in the summer or a cruise when the kids are in school. However, I bet you have not thought about booking a vacation over Thanksgiving to get a deal. Let me tell you how. Thanksgiving is an American holiday and all of our children get at least a couple of days off school. There are many Caribbean resorts that mainly market to the Europeans who do not have a Thanksgiving holiday. Thus, the Thanksgiving holiday is not considered high season and the rates are low.

For example, we booked a vacation at Carlisle Bay in Antigua for a week over Thanksgiving a couple of years ago for low season rates. Carlisle Bay markets primarily to the Europeans, and they did even know it was Thanksgiving week until we requested a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving day! I am sure there are other holidays where you could use this same strategy to get a deal on a luxury vacation. Buccament Bay in St. Vincent is another resort in the Caribbean that primarily markets to Europeans.

3- Check For Last Minute Deals and Resident Rates

Many luxury resorts offer last minute deals to fill rooms. This technique requires flexibility, but it can save you a ton of money! Also, never be afraid to call or email the hotel directly. I have scored some very good discounts on hotel rooms by simply calling and emailing the hotel manager directly to ask. All they can say is no, and you will be surprised at how many hotels say yes!

Another good tip for finding deals on vacations is to check resident rates. For example, the Disney Cruise offers Florida resident rates on cruises throughout the year. Again, the resident rate deals are usually published close to the travel time. However, the local resident rates can save you a ton of money.

Thanks so much, Tamala!  Now I’m itching to book a family getaway…

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  I’m planning to take it easy, get rid of this stupid bronchitis and not run:)

Happy Friday ya’ll,

Jen Signature photo JenSignature_zpse63747c4.jpg

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